Happy Monday, friends!
How was your weekend? It felt almost like summer again around these parts with highs in the upper 70s–definitely a good excuse to spend the entire weekend outdoors (not like I really have a choice these days, anyway!). I dropped back down to 12 miles for my long run on Saturday but was so thrilled that that distance finally feels completely manageable! I mean, 12 miles will never be easy, but with the right mind set and fuel, I can run those 12 miles and still have enough energy to accomplish a non-running something. Definitely a stepping stone for me!
Speaking of having enough energy, with the miles increasing, I’ve really had to think more about my food intake, especially right before and after those long runs. I stick to the exact same breakfast the morning of my long runs: a smoothie with greek yogurt, banana, Amazing Grass Superfood, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and unsweetened almond milk. It’s pretty similar to what I have every morning anyway, and provides just the right balance of nutrients to kick start my run. And since my body is so used to it, I know it will be easy to digest as I hit the trail.
However, when doing running “fuel” research, I’ve noticed that a lot of sites recommend protein shakes, nutrition bars, etc. I mean, during my runs, I have to give into this a bit and eat the Clif Bar gummy blocks and gels, but before and after my run, just like pretty much all the time, I prefer to eat REAL food, not some processed mystery bar. Since training has picked up, though, I definitely have to be careful about what I put in my body because it can have such a huge impact on my performance. Here’s a few of my go-to before/after meals for long training run fuel.
Before each run, I try to eat a balanced meal of protein + carbs + veggies. I’ve found if my dinner consists too heavily of one of these three categories, my body is going to pay the next day. I also try to avoid eating too much dairy, butter, or anything creamy the night before because those ingredients don’t always agree with my stomach. I love eating quinoa for dinner since it has a complete round-up of amino acids and is also a great source of carbs. Throw in a little kale salad and my body is ready to go the next morning!
Immediately after my run, I try to eat a high carb snack before adding in a large amount of protein. A few hours after I finish my run, my body naturally starts to crave all kinds of protein, and I find myself reaching for all kinds of animal products I don’t normally eat. Oops! However, I don’t really taste much after a really long run, so it’s more just eating because I know my body needs it, not because I really want to the food, a complete departure from normal for me, that’s for sure!
What do you eat to prep your body for/recover after intense fatigue?